As a therapist who works with sex offenders I can’t stress how important sex education is. Of course, what should that sex education look like. I think numerous issues should be included and I think that in order to have success I think we have to address the dynamics that contribute to sexual behavior: appropriate or inappropriate.
The first component of sex education should be teaching our children self esteem. A child is going to make much better choices for themselves sexually if they respect themselves. We can start teaching that from the first day they walk into kindergarten to the day they have their diplomas in hand. A child who respects themselves will not put themselves at risk for STD’s and being used and objectified.
Of course, anatomy is important. There really is no reason why a woman should not know what her ovaries do by the time she graduates from high school. I can’t tell you how many men I encounter who thinks the term “boner” means there is an actual bone in their penis. I think that if you own the equipment you should know how it works.
Teaching teenagers about Sexually Transmitted Diseases is imperative in my opinion. I don’t think that teaching about these health risks is telling them having sexual contact is okay. I think it helps emphasize what a big responsibility having sex is and also the importance of being in a relationship where communication is valued and respect is a requirement.
Of course, the biggest issue I think needs to be discussed is sexual boundaries. What is consent? I can’t tell you how many adolescents we have who get in trouble for having sex with someone whose been drinking or expose themselves to others. Everyone needs to have a clear grasp on what consent is and what a healthy sexual relationship is. This helps teenagers from becoming victims or perpetrators and its much better to do it before a sexual offense occurs than after.